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Rwanda is an African country, in the Great Lakes region, having borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (217 km), Burundi (290 km), Uganda (169 km) and Tanzania (217 km). While it has no ocean coast, it is on Lake Kivu, which borders on the DRC.[1] Rwanda joined the East African Community (EAC) on July 1, 2007, and is also a member of the Nile Basin Initiative, the Economic Community for the Great Lake Countries (CEPGL) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). [2] The Great Lakes

Its capital is Kigali.


Rwanda became independent in 1962 after colonization by Germany (1899) and Belgium (1919). In 1959, three years before independence, the majority ethnic group, the Hutus, overthrew the ruling Tutsi king. A Hutu-dominated parliament was elected in 1961. Since independence, the country has been riven with ethnic violence, although it is at relative peace. It held its first local elections in 1999 and its first post-genocide presidential and legislative elections in 2003.

In 1992, the Arusha Accords briefly established a power balance, but Tutsi extremists formed the Interahamwe insurgency. The government, however, assassinated approximately 3,000 Tutsis between 1990 and 1993. [3]

1994 genocide

On 6 April 1994, when the aircraft of the Hutu presidents of Rwanda, Juvenal Habyarimana, in which Cyprien Ntaryamira, the Hutu president of Burundi was also a passenger, was shot down near near Kigali International Airport in Rwanda, fighting broke out. Col. Theoneste Bagosora took control of the government.

Canadian Major General Romeo Dallaire, commanding the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda, told UN Military Headquarters in New York that he could stop the killing with more troops and a change of rules of engagement to let them use force (i.e., peace enforcement). He had, early in the conflict, been refused authority to capture weapons depots and radio stations. Instead, they reduced the force of 2,500 soldiers. [4]

The Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) fought the Hutu government. Between April and June 1994. About 800,000 people were massacred by the army and the Hutu Interahamwe militia. The RPF overthrew the regime in June 1994.

The United Nations Security Council formed the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Rwanda, in its own customs, has a reconciliation system of gacaca courts. "The name means "on the grass." Throughout Rwanda's history, neighbors have settled disputes by adjourning to the gacaca to sit, discuss and mediate personal and community problems"[5]

Continuing insurgencies

The Tutsi rebels defeated the Hutu regime and ended the killing in July 1994, but approximately 2 million Hutu refugees - many fearing Tutsi retribution - fled to neighboring Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and DRC. Since then, most of the refugees have returned to Rwanda, but several thousand remained in the DRC and formed an extremist insurgency bent on retaking Rwanda, much as the RPF tried in 1990.

Interahamwe forces were still operating in northwest Rwanda, as well as the DRC, in 1999. [6] They threatened the entire Great Lakes region. [7]

This topic has no replies. This topic was posted on 24-03-2007 15:43. The Interahamwe remains a stamping block to peace in the Great Lakes region.

Recent stabilization

The DRC and Rwanda restored diplomatic relations in 2009, after conducting joint military operations to oust Hutu insurgents in the Congo.

International cooperation

Kigali Airport has been an African Union logistics base for peace operations in the Darfur Conflict.

Rwanda joined the Commonwealth of Nations in late 2009.


It is the most densely populated country in Africa, with an estimated population of 10,746,311 spread over 26,338 sq km.[1] Ethnically, it is principally Hutu (Bantu) 84% and Tutsi (Hamitic) 15%, with Twa (Pygmy) 1%, Religions are diverse, estimated to be, in 2001, Roman Catholic 56.5%, Protestant 26%, Adventist 11.1%, Muslim 4.6%, indigenous beliefs 0.1%, none 1.7%. The official languages are Kinyarwanda (official) universal Bantu vernacular, French and English (official); Kiswahili (Swahili) is used in commercial centers.


Rwanda is a poor rural country with about 85% of the population engaged in (mainly subsistence) agriculture and some mineral and agro-processing. Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with demand, requiring food imports.

In 2008, minerals overtook coffee and tea as Rwanda's primary foreign exchange earner.

Rwanda joined the World Bank in 1963, and obtained Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative debt relief in 2005-06. Since then, the country has financed 70 IDA credits and grants totaling approximately US$1.4 billion. As of the end of July 2009, World Bank support to Rwanda consists of 13 operations, including four loans, nine grants and two trust funds, with a net commitment of US$ 264.4 million. [8]

Rwanda continues to receive substantial aid money and obtained Rwanda also received a Millennium Challenge Account Compact in 2008.


Rwanda’s long term development vision is articulated in the Rwanda Vision 2020 document. The vision sees Rwanda as a lower middle income economy (US$900 per capita) operating as a knowledge-based service hub by 2020. The Vision 2020 objectives are fully in line with the MDGs, but its targets are more ambitious.


  1. 1.0 1.1 , Burundi, The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency
  2. Rwanda Country Brief, World Bank
  3. Hutu Extremists: The Interahamwe in Rwanda, United States Military Academy
  4. "Dallaire in Rwanda for first time since genocide", Canadian Press, 5 April 2004
  5. Sarel Kandell Kromer (16 October 2005), "The Rwandan Reconciliation", Washington Post
  6. Chris Simpson (3 March 1999), Interahamwe: A serious military threat, BBC
  7. Evans Wafula (23 March 2007), "The Interahamwe remains a stamping block to peace in the Great Lakes region", African News
  8. Rwanda, World Bank